The Magpie Arc – EP1

EP Review | Collective Perspective | Review by Allan Wilkinson | Stars: 4/5

In the truest sense of collaboration, the five musicians that make up The Magpie Arc, Nancy Kerr, Martin Simpson, Adam Holmes, Tom A Wright and Alex Hunter, pool their respective influences in this exciting new band setting.  Unlike the almost endless stream of themed folk projects over the last few years, funded by this, that or the other, the musicians involved here return to the notion of sharing ideas and making new and original music together, in this case in a studio within a Victorian factory complex in the former industrial heartland of Sheffield.  None of these musicians take a forced lead, rather, they work together as a team, which comes across in their overall sound. 

If anything, the style relates to British Folk Rock of the 60s and 70s, in that there’s a tight rhythm section at work with some tasty electric guitar courtesy of Simpson, known predominantly for his virtuoso acoustic guitar work and who appears to relish in the challenge.  The four songs featured on this initial EP provide a snapshot of what to expect when the band’s debut album arrives next year and adheres to a relatively democratic share of the songwriting credentials, notably Nancy’s atmospheric “Canon”, Martin’s strum-along country ballad “Love Never Dies” and Adam and Tom’s radio friendly “Whenever I’m Alone”, not forgetting the EP closer, Autumn Leaves, again written by Adam Holmes.  This is one of them ‘watch this space’ releases for sure.

Choice Track: Whenever I’m Alone (NSV 508)